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CIRM User Feedback Forum

Introduction

Welcome to the CIRM User Feedback Forum!

The purpose of this Forum is to put designers and manufacturers of marine navigation and communication systems directly in touch with users during product development.

Hosted by CIRM and supported by the Nautical Institute, the Forum exists to support and promote Human-Centred Design (HCD).

For full information on the background of the Forum, how it works, and how to get involved, please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in the section below.

FAQs

General

Q) What is HCD?

The basic premise of Human-Centred Design (HCD) is that systems are designed to suit the characteristics of intended users and the tasks they perform, rather than requiring users to adapt to a system. Usability Testing (UT) is a key component of HCD and uses methods that rely on including users to test the ability of systems to support user needs (IMO Circular MSC.1/Circ.1512)

Q) Why was the Forum created?

Effective HCD requires that the intended users of systems participate in the design of those systems. In practice system designers and manufacturers may experience difficulty in finding a sufficient number of users of sufficient diversity willing to provide their feedback and participate directly in the HCD process.

The CIRM User Feedback Forum was therefore created to put system designers and manufacturers directly in touch with users who are willing to participate in system design and development and provide feedback, in order to promote and facilitate effective Human-Centred Design.

Q) How does it work?

The CIRM User Feedback Forum is hosted on the CIRM website and administered by the CIRM Secretariat. It is supported by The Nautical Institute.

Users interested in participating in system design can use the CIRM website to register for the User Pool, at which point their contact details will be added to a database.

When a system designer or manufacturer is seeking users to take part in a product development exercise, they will contact the CIRM Secretariat, who will put them in touch with the User Pool. The system designer/manufacturer will outline the terms and conditions of the user participation they are looking for and request participants accordingly. Willing users will respond, and the specific terms/conditions of their participation in the exercise will be arranged directly with the system designer/manufacturer.

Following the conclusion of the exercise, the system designer/manufacturer is obliged to report the outcome of the exercise to the Forum (note that this should include high-level, non-commercially sensitive information only). By way of example, the report could outline the location and scope of testing, and indicate that the user participation led to improvements in system functionality.

For System Designers/Manufacturers

Q) Is there a cost to using the Forum?

The Forum is a CIRM-hosted service that is free-to-use and available to all CIRM members. There will of course be costs associated with actually undertaking any product development exercises arranged through the Forum, possibly including remuneration/reimbursement of costs for participants (depending on the agreed upon terms/conditions of their participation).

Q) Do I need to be a CIRM member?

As the Forum is hosted and maintained by CIRM, the answer is yes; it is only available to CIRM members.

Q) What is the process for getting user feedback?

The process for getting user feedback depends on the format of the exercise and the terms/conditions of user participation, and is up to you.

The following scenarios are provided by way of example user feedback exercises:

  • System designer arranges for a group of users to undertake a week of web-based beta testing, remotely;
  • Manufacturer invites a group of users to visit the manufacturer’s facility for two days to perform on-site usability testing;
  • Manufacturer agrees to visit a maritime school and set-up systems for three days of on-location usability testing and various HCD exercises.

Q) How can I encourage user participation?

In order to encourage user participation, the following should be borne in mind:

  • Avoid making the terms of their participation onerous or burdensome;
  • Offer to reimburse their expenses where reasonably incurred;
  • When outlining the scope of the exercise to be undertaken and what you require from user participation, try to be clear and unambiguous, and avoid overly technical language;
  • Pave the way for future user participation by reporting positively on the outcomes of any exercises undertaken, so that these results can be publicised by CIRM and The Nautical Institute;

Q) How do I report on the outcome?

When reporting the outcome of an exercise, you should submit a typed report to the CIRM Secretariat, which will be shared with the CIRM User Feedback Forum and The Nautical Institute.

For the Seafarer

Q) How do I sign up?

Scroll down the page to the How to Register section and fill in the form provided. Your contact details will be securely stored in accordance with data protection law. Your details will not be shared with any other organisation or company without your expressed permission.

Q) Why should I sign up?

It’s fun and useful! By participating in this forum you will gain an insight into the latest design thinking in the maritime industry. It’s also useful; how many times have you cursed the design of a system or thought that it was just not logical and that if only seafarers had been consulted the design could have been so much better? Have your say now, help yourself and help others.

Q) Is there any remuneration?

This is not a job or employment; we ask you to share your thoughts to improve the industry. Having said that, participating should not cost you anything either, if you do need to travel or go out of your way the manufacturer should reimburse you for any expenses, and might offer some compensation to reward your cooperation.

Q) What are my responsibilities?

To be honest and helpful. The manufacturer will explain exactly what they would like you to do and how to provide feedback, but just try to be as honest and helpful as possible, explain why you like or dislike something and feel free to offer suggestions for improvement. Also help to share the news of this Forum and recommend it to your friends and shipmates.

Q) Can I share my experiences?

Yes and no…. By all means please share the news of this Forum with your friends and shipmates. However, the manufacturers may share with you some of their confidential design features that are their legal intellectual property and have great commercial value to them. The manufactures should be very clear about what you can say or share to anyone other than them. When in doubt ask!

For Maritime Schools

Q) Why should we participate?

Schools always want to do the best for their students and being able to expose them to cutting edge design is a fantastic experience. Lecturers will also benefit from being exposed to new designs and the feedback from both students and teachers will be a learning experience for all, including the manufacturers.

Q) How can we participate?

First, sign up! This feedback might be done by having access to new designs over the Internet or by web cam, or if possible you might encourage a manufacturer to set up shop for a few days in a classroom or public area in campus. The manufacturers in question might also be encouraged to provide a guest lecture to talk about design and opportunities.

How to register

Please follow this link to the registration form (hosted on a secure server): Registration form